25 January 2009

Preaching to the unconverted

President Obama today announced the lifting of the invidious ban on US overseas aid going to family planning clinics who talk about abortions with clients. On cue, the Vatican weighed in with its myopic view, as senior Vatican official Monsignor Rino Fisichella accused Mr Obama of having "the arrogance of those who, being in power, believe they can decide of [sic] life and death."

Of course the Vatican is something of an authority on the arrogance of being in power. And historically has certainly enjoyed its fair share of deciding "of life and death", when threatened by those who would question such power. Maybe it will advise American Catholics to refuse to pay a portion of their taxes in protest, in the same way they advised millions to stop donating to Amnesty International for having the nerve to back the right of women to be treated as adults. Promoting the rights of unborn children to the exclusion of all else seems fitting, given the Vatican's infantile political agenda.

Joe Biden is the first ever Catholic Vice-President of the USA (one "first" that somehow got overlooked), so they probably thought they had a man on the inside. No wonder, then, the Vatican said the Obama Presidency was already "heading quickly toward disappointment". During the election race the Catholic hierarchy had helpfully suggested that that Biden, and those like him, not take holy communion because of their pro-choice views. If the leader of any other made-up country presumed to tell an elected politician what to do because he had a hotline to God, you'd say it was chutzpah at best. Or possibly the arrogance of being in power.

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